It didn't turn out to be Santa Barbara, but that was ok. Santa Barbara is such a distance that even for a scone it was really too much for the SconeLady. One day I shall make my way there and sit near the water, munching happily away. But for today, it would be Pasadena instead.
Pasadena isn't anything even close to what Santa Barbara is, but it has its strong points, one of which was a luscious hotel (used to be the Ritz) with delectable scones and pastries and tea sandwiches galore that you absolutely MUST try, and try soon. And that is not to mention the plush carpeting, divine decor, and gentle wait staff hovering and ready with "More tea? How did you like the scones? Shall I box this up for you, madam?" Start to finish, we found it all heavenly.
First, though, there was the drive to the railway station. Then the Metrolink train to LA Union Station. And how would you like to see what the passengers saw as we pulled near? We rounded a bend and were faced with a pile of trash/recycling/garbage accumulated and obtrusive right there before our offended eyes. It was not heavenly.
The passengers and I stared. In shock. Anytime I arrive via train to a city such as London, for example, I NEVER see anything like this - this pile. And I felt sorry for us. Just think how long it will take for a pile like this one to disappear and be taken far, far from my poor hapless fellow passengers, never to be seen again. Probably never.
But putting this shocking scene aside, we did escape from Union Station (which is actually quite beautiful inside) and make our way to El Segundo. There, we had a scrumptious breakfast of all sorts of goodies like sausage, eggs, toast, salad and chicken-fried-chicken. We were quite decadent, and ate more than any person should who is looking ahead to an Afternoon Tea. I completely forgot all about how hungry I would need to be.
A delightful hour or two was then spent painting, together, in a park. The SconeLady has never in her life had anybody invite her to paint anything at all. But this time, they did. The rather stunning son + darling girl did invite me to paint, the first time since grade school. The result might look like grade school, but who cared? It was so much companionable fun!
The Rather-Stunning-Plus provided the art materials and let creativity take its course.
Whereupon we made our way to the Langham Hotel in Pasadena, for Afternoon Tea.
The lovely Langham Hotel Lobby
It is important to note that the Langham provided everything, and more, for this bright and beautiful Afternoon Tea. Was it their fault that we came into their establishment still almost completely full from the earlier breakfast? No. But we did, truly, try to eat as much as we possibly could to do it justice. This is what we enjoyed:
- The finger sandwiches were delicious: smoked salmon, shaved radish, mixed tuna, egg, and something else I can't remember
- The SCONES were DELICIOUS! Nicely warm (although I doubt that they were fresh from the oven; I could be wrong, but that is what it seemed), served with very nice clotted Devonshire cream, and four varieties of jams.
- The french pastries and cakes were over-the-top tasty. I only managed to get one down, but it was a superior Chocolate Mousse in a solid chocolate cupcake cup, tiny, with little chocolate sticks sticking out of it. Man.
- The tea was Assam! (awesome?) The very best Pure Assam I have had since coming back to the States a few months ago. They got this sooo right.
The company was also exquisite, consisting of my lovely niece who came by to join us and egg us on to eat more and yet more decadence. We were utterly obedient to her voice, and just kept going until we could finally take no more, dragging ourselves out to the waiting car.
But oh! We were not finished yet, for there is near the Langham Hotel a divine house you would recognize:
The Father Of The Bride house!
My favorite of all movie-set-houses! The perfect way to end this perfect day, with its splendid memories all gathered and ready to cherish, and recall, at the drop of a hat.
See you along the way!
P.S. I almost forgot! The SconeLady gave today's lovely scones a solid 9 out of 10! They would have been a perfect 10 apart from the fact that they lacked the slightly crusty finish on the outside. I don't mean REALLY crusty, just SLIGHTLY (it's hard to explain unless you were there).